Oz the Great and Powerful will maintain a strong lead at the North American box office this weekend, chiefly because Friday's two new releases, the Halle Berry thriller The Call and the Steve Carell / Jim Carrey comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, were from the get-go bound to become modest grossers. Having said that, the Friday box office performances of both The Call and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone turned out to be quite unexpected: whereas the Halle Berry movie way overperformed, the Steve Carell / Jim Carrey flick totally bombed. (Photo: Halle Berry The Call.)
Directed by Sam Raimi, and starring James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, and Rachel Weisz, Oz the Great and Powerful added $11.4 million on Friday, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. By Sunday evening, this critically derided prequel to the 1939 Victor Fleming / Judy Garland classic The Wizard of Oz should take in around $40m. That'll represent approximately a 50 percent drop compared to Oz the Great and Powerful's first weekend. (See also: "James Franco Gay Sex Movie 'Replaces' Banned Gay Sex Movie at Australian Film Festival" and "James Franco Interior. Leather Bar: Recreating Cruising's 'Lost' Kinky Gay Sex Footage.")
Halle Berry The Call: $17m-$18 million weekend?
Expectations for the Halle Berry thriller The Call were quite modest. Sony Pictures announced the film's release date only a couple of months ago, and the Best Actress Academy Award winner Halle Berry's most recent non-X-Men star vehicle to open with more than $20m at the North American box office -- even adjusting for inflation -- was the $100m-budgeted (and eventual box office bomb) Catwoman, which took in $16.72 million (approx. $21.68 million today) in late July 2004, nearly nine years ago.
Once inflation is factored in, The Call won't gross as much as Catwoman. In fact, The Call should trail even the non-adjusted amount earned by Halle Berry's horror thriller Gothika ($19.28m) in Nov. 2003. Even so, the Brad Anderson-directed thriller co-starring Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin may reach a not inconsiderable $18 million by Sunday evening. A minimum of $17 million seems guaranteed after the film raked in $6.2 million at 2,507 locations on Friday. Early predictions had the $13m-budgeted The Call scoring at most $10m this weekend.
Halle Berry movies
Halle Berry won her Best Actress Academy Award for Marc Forster's drama Monster's Ball in early 2002. Among Berry's other film credits are Boomerang (1992), with Eddie Murphy; Losing Isaiah (1995), with Jessica Lange; Bulworth (1998), with Warren Beatty; and the Lee Tamahori-directed James Bond thriller Die Another Day (2001), with Pierce Brosnan.
Halle Berry's biggest movie at the North American box office is X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), in which Berry is part of an ensemble cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, James Marsden and others. X-Men: The Last Stand took in $234.36m. The vast majority of Berry's recent releases, however, have been domestic box office disappointments -- or downright bombs -- including last year's costly Cloud Atlas, co-starring Tom Hanks. Cloud Atlas raked in a disastrous $27.1 million in the US and Canada, though the offbeat drama directed by Tom Tykwer, and Andy and Lana Wachowski fared much better internationally, collecting $94.39m.
["Box Office Surprise: Halle Berry The Call" continues on the next page. See link below.]
Halle Berry The Call photo: Sony Pictures.